Tiny house – for a mobile writer’s retreat

I’m in Philadelphia for the weekend, attending a Tumbleweed Houses workshop. I have been looking at tiny houses (Google the term) online for a couple of years now, attracted by the idea of living in a tiny, portable house – in my opinion, much nicer than an RV – and wondering how I would learn more about them.

Providence put a workshop near enough so that I could drive – I am meant to be here, because flying out to California just to do a workshop seemed a bit much when I hadn’t even decided how seriously I was interested.

Then, to make it even more providential, the person I sat next to at the mixer – by total random luck at a table of twenty – turned out to live less than a mile from my house in NJ AND she is actually building a tiny house in less than a month very close to where we live. I will be able to see one go up! Maybe even help!

Before you wonder what I’m talking about, here’s Ella’s Little Yellow Door tiny house:


Her blog is at http://littleyellowdoor.wordpress.com. She said to just take a picture from there for this blog (thanks, Ella) – as there is no actual tiny house at this workshop 😦 for me to photograph – or to actually get in to.

It is attached in this photo to a pickup truck that took it from where she built it, to where she now lives – at Half Moon Bay, with a view of the ocean. In California!

Yes, these things go down the highway behind your pickup truck exactly as if you were pulling a trailer, and are technically a ‘trailer with a load.’

First, am I totally crazy to do a whole-weekend workshop with my energy levels? Yes. But again, I am cheating: I got a room at the workshop hotel, drove down the night before (there was a nice mixer for those who could make it), and stayed the night before.

Then I made sure I went to bed on time, and, when I woke up two hours too early, I took a muscle relaxant and did yoga for twenty minutes until the muscle fibers stopped screaming (too much sitting the day before?), put on the industrial-strength earmuffs and an eye mask, and went back to sleep. It was tempting to just get up – possibly do some writing (or, more probably, waste time internet surfing) – but I made the hard decision.

I’m glad I did, because the morning session wiped me out (all that paying attention stuff!), and I barely got 20 minutes rest by extending the break by falling asleep and not realizing my phone alarm was off, but I got back, listened for another hour and a half, and took a LONG sleep during the lunch break.

Then back at 2:30, end at quarter to five, and come crash for another hour. One more nap at 9pm if I need it, and repeat for tomorrow.

It takes discipline to rest when unique things are going on, but they are dumping gobs of information on us: trailers, plywood, flooring, insulation, plans, building experiences (Ella built hers and Joe is going to build his), answering questions… and I need to absorb it all.

The experience of traveling in a tiny house – of being able to pull over to the side of the road and take a long nap in your own house before continuing – appeals enormously to someone who finds regular travel exhausting.

And being able to stop and have lunch in your own kitchen when you get hungry – and take a shower if you need one (and saved enough water – water is heavy, and you probably dump it before you head down the road, so that part might not be practical) just sounds so lovely.

(To be continued)